Understanding Blackjack Side Bets: A Beginner’s Guide to Successful Wagering

If you're new to the world of , you might be surprised to learn about the wide array of side bets available in many versions of the game. Side bets are additional wagers that can be placed alongside your main bet, offering the opportunity for higher payouts by playing on specific outcomes. Understanding these side bets is essential for any beginner who wants to add excitement and potentially increase their winnings at the blackjack table.

Blackjack is a popular game among enthusiasts, both online and in physical casinos. The allure of this classic game lies in its simplicity and the combination of skill and luck required to win. While the main game follows a basic set of rules, side bets provide extra opportunities for players to win and create a more thrilling experience.

Key Takeaways

  • Blackjack side bets offer increased payout potential but come with higher risks
  • Understanding the specific rules and strategies can help minimize the house edge in your favor
  • Online platforms allow you to practice blackjack and side bets in a convenient, accessible way

Understanding the Game

Blackjack is a popular card game where your main goal is to obtain a hand with a higher value than the dealer's, without going over 21 points. The game is a blend of strategy, skill, and chance, making it both exciting and challenging for players of all levels.

In blackjack, cards 2 through 10 are worth their face value, while Jacks, Queens, and Kings are worth 10 points each. Aces can be valued at either 1 or 11 points, depending on which value benefits your hand. The gameplay consists of decision-making moments like whether to hit (take another card) or stand (not taking any more cards). The right decision can help you avoid going bust (having a hand value exceeding 21) and increase your chances of winning.

As you start playing, you'll notice the blackjack rules dictate that the dealer must hit on a particular hand value, usually a soft 17 (a hand containing an Ace valued at 11 points and a 6-point card). Utilize this rule in your strategy and keep track of the dealer's actions to outsmart them.

Another essential aspect of the game is dealing with the scenario where both the dealer and player get blackjack. Knowing when to take insurance or side bets can help you maximize your winning chances and minimize the risks.

A popular blackjack side bet is the 21+3 bet, which combines your two cards and the dealer's up card to make a three-card hand. If you achieve winning combinations like a flush, a straight, or a three-of-a-kind, you can receive additional payouts.

By understanding the fundamental rules, gameplay, and basic strategies, you can enhance your blackjack skills. As your experience and knowledge grow, significantly increase your odds of outsmarting the dealer and walking away as a winner.

Main and Side Bets

While playing blackjack, you'll notice that there are two types of bets: the main bet and various side bets. The main bet revolves around your hand attempting to beat the dealer's hand, with a goal of getting as close to 21 as possible without going over. On the other hand, side bets offer additional wagering options for players looking to increase their potential returns.

One of the most common side bets is the insurance bet, which can be placed when the dealer's up card is an Ace. This bet essentially wagers that the dealer has a blackjack, and if your hunch is correct, you could win the bet. Insurance may seem like a smart move, but keep in mind that the odds aren't always in your favor.

Some other blackjack side bets involve wagers on specific outcomes or card combinations, like Perfect Pairs or 21+3. These bets can add an exciting twist to the game, but they also come with varying odds and returns. It's important to weigh the potential risks and rewards before placing side bets, as they can impact your overall blackjack experience.

Remember, side bets are additional wagers that are separate from the main game, and their outcomes do not directly affect your primary bet. As a beginner, it's crucial to understand the difference between main and side bets, enabling you to make informed decisions while playing blackjack. By focusing on the main bet and considering side bets as optional extras, you can enjoy the game with confidence and potentially improve your chances of success.

Popular Side Bets

Perfect Pairs

Perfect Pairs is a common side bet that rewards you for getting a pair in your initial two cards. It's simple and adds an extra element of excitement to the game without increasing complexity. The payout depends on the type of pair you receive:

  • Mixed pair (different suits): 6 to 1 payout
  • Colored pair (same colors, different suits): 12 to 1 payout
  • Perfect pair (identical cards): 25 to 1 payout

For more information on Perfect Pairs, visit Top Side Bets in Blackjack: Boost Your Wins Now!.


The 21+3 side bet combines blackjack with elements of poker, adding excitement for all skill levels. Your two cards and the dealer's up card are used to form a three-card poker hand. If your hand matches a specific outcome, you win:

  • Suited three of a kind: 100 to 1 payout
  • Straight flush: 40 to 1 payout
  • Three of a kind: 30 to 1 payout
  • Straight: 10 to 1 payout
  • Flush: 5 to 1 payout

Learn how to master the 21+3 side bet, including its tips, odds, and payouts, by clicking here.

Royal Match

Royal Match relies on the first two cards you receive. It pays if they form a suited pair, called an “Easy Match,” or if they constitute a suited King and Queen, called the “Royal Match.” The payouts are:

  • Easy Match: 2.5 to 1 payout
  • Royal Match: 25 to 1 payout

Super Sevens

Super Sevens is another exciting side bet that enhances your traditional blackjack experience. The wager is placed on getting sevens in your initial cards. Payouts vary depending on the number of sevens and their suits:

  • First card is a 7: 3 to 1 payout
  • First two cards are unsuited 7s: 50 to 1 payout
  • First two cards are suited 7s: 100 to 1 payout
  • First three cards are unsuited 7s: 500 to 1 payout
  • First three cards are suited 7s: 5,000 to 1 payout

For more on Super Sevens, check out Super 4 Blackjack: An Introduction to the Popular Side Bet.

Lucky Ladies

Last but not least, is a side bet that focuses on your first two cards adding up to 20. The payouts are based on the outcome's specifics:

  • Unsuited 20: 4 to 1 payout
  • Suited 20: 9 to 1 payout
  • Matched 20 (same rank and suit): 19 to 1 payout
  • Two Queens of Hearts: 125 to 1 payout
  • Two Queens of Hearts with dealer's blackjack: 1,000 to 1 payout

Each side bet adds its unique flavor to the classic game of blackjack, providing you with diverse opportunities to win. Make sure to tread carefully and consider your strategy so you can make the most of these exciting side bets.

Understanding Odds and Payouts

When playing blackjack, understanding odds and payouts is crucial to increasing your chances of success. By grasping the fundamental concepts of probability and house edge, you can make more informed decisions during gameplay.

First, you need to know that a lower house edge means better odds in your favor. Generally, the house edge in blackjack varies depending on the specific rules and strategies employed, but mastering it can turn the tables in your favor.

Next, let's look at payouts. In blackjack, the payout structure can have significant implications on your possible returns. For instance, a game with a 3:2 payout offers better odds than one with a 6:5 payout. Familiarizing yourself with these differences enables you to choose the most favorable games.

While luck certainly plays a role, utilizing strategies and understanding the odds can increase your chances of winning. One popular variant is 2:1 blackjack, where the right approach can significantly boost your chances of success.

Lastly, remember that blackjack offers a range of side bets with varying odds and payouts. These bets can have attractive returns, even reaching 5,000:1 in some cases. However, as the house edge often increases with side bets, it's important to weigh the potential payouts against the increased risks involved.

By comprehending the principles of odds, payouts, and house edge in blackjack, you are better equipped to minimize losses and enjoy a more successful gaming experience.

Role of Cards and their Values

Card Values

In blackjack, each card holds a specific value that contributes to the total value of your hand. Card values are primarily based on the number printed on each card. For example, cards from 2 to 10 hold their face value (a 2 of hearts is worth 2 points), whereas face cards – the king, queen, and jack – have a value of 10 points each.

Face Cards and Aces

Face cards, which include the king, queen, and jack, are each valued at 10 points. Aces, on the other hand, can have a value of either 1 or 11, depending on which value would benefit your hand more. For instance, having an Ace and a 7 in your hand can be counted either as 8 or 18, giving you more flexibility and a better chance of hitting 21 or staying close to it without going over.

Number of Decks

The number of decks used in a blackjack game affects the house edge and the card counting process (if applicable). A single-deck game generally has a lower house edge compared to a multi-deck game. However, casinos often use multiple decks to make more challenging for skilled players.

When the dealer reveals their upcard, you can use it to make better decisions regarding your own hand. Understanding card values will help you become better at estimating the of certain cards being dealt and plan your moves accordingly.

Card counting can be an effective strategy for getting an edge over the house, but it does require concentration and practice. Learning how to count cards in a multi-deck game can be particularly challenging due to the increased number of decks in play, but mastering this skill can improve your chances of winning in the long run.

By understanding the role of cards and their values in blackjack, you can effectively strategize and play to your advantage. Remember, each card and the number of decks in play can have a significant impact on your gameplay and decision-making, so always pay close attention to these factors.

Blackjack Strategies

Basic Strategy

A strong foundation in basic blackjack strategy can increase your chances of winning at the table. By understanding when to hit, stand, split, or double down, you can greatly improve your decisions during gameplay.

When using basic strategy, always consider the dealer's up card along with your hand value. This helps you predict the dealer's possible hand outcome and make the best decision for your own hand. For example, if you have a hard total of 16 and the dealer has a low card, consider standing. However, if the dealer has a high card, it may be safer to hit.

Insurance Strategy

An insurance side bet allows you to protect yourself against blackjack when the dealer has a face-up Ace. If the dealer shows an Ace and you choose to make the insurance bet, you're betting that their facedown card has a value of 10. If the dealer indeed has a blackjack, you'll win the insurance bet but lose your initial wager. Overall, insurance bets are typically considered risky and are not recommended by experts as they provide a lower return on investment in the long run.

Side Bet Strategy

In addition to the main game, some blackjack tables offer side bets to increase the excitement. Side bets vary, but a common one is Perfect Pairs, where you place a bet on whether your two initial cards will be a pair. Other popular side bets include 21+3 and Blazing 7s. These bets can provide additional wins, but generally, the house edge is higher on such bets, making them less favorable for players.

As a beginner, it's important to focus on mastering the main blackjack strategy before venturing into side bets. It's crucial to understand the blackjack rules and how different side bet options work before trying them out. If you develop a strong understanding of when to hit, stand, double down, or split, you'll be better equipped to make informed decisions on side bets as well.

Playing Online Blackjack

Playing online blackjack at an online casino can be an exciting and rewarding experience, especially for beginners. It offers the convenience of playing from the comfort of your own home and at your own pace. But before diving into the world of online blackjack, it's essential to understand the basics and some strategies to enhance your gameplay.

When you start playing online blackjack, familiarize yourself with the game's rules and objectives. The aim is to get a hand value closer to 21 than the dealer's, without exceeding 21. You'll be dealt two cards initially, and you can either hit to receive another card or stand to maintain your current hand value. Remember, each card has a specific point value, with picture cards worth 10 points and Aces either 1 or 11 points.

Online casinos offer various blackjack variations, with side bets being an exciting aspect of the game. Side bets allow you to wager on specific outcomes or combinations, potentially yielding significant payouts. Some common side bets include:

  • 21+3: You win if your first two cards plus the dealer's upcard form a poker hand like a straight, flush, three-of-a-kind, or straight flush.
  • Perfect Pairs: You win if your first two cards are a pair, with higher payouts for same-colored or same-suited pairs.
  • Insurance: If the dealer's upcard is an Ace, you can place an insurance bet, which pays 2:1 if the dealer has a blackjack.

To improve your chances, it's crucial to memorize a basic strategy that guides you on when to hit, stand, split, or double down, based on your hand and the dealer's upcard. Keep a basic strategy chart handy to refer to as you play.

Finally, when playing online blackjack, remember to manage your bankroll wisely by never betting more than half your stack in a single hand. Start with smaller wagers and gradually increase as you gain confidence and experience. By adhering to these tips and understanding the side bets, you'll be well on your way to enjoying success in the thrilling world of online blackjack.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of side bets in blackjack?

Side bets in blackjack serve to add excitement and variety to the game, offering players additional betting options beyond the standard gameplay. These bets usually involve specific card combinations or outcomes, allowing you to potentially win large payouts even if your main hand isn't successful. However, side bets typically come with a higher house edge.

How do odds vary for different blackjack side bets?

Odds for blackjack side bets can vary significantly, depending on the specific bet and its rules. For example, Perfect Pairs and 21+3 side bets provide different odds based on the specific card combinations or hand outcomes. It is crucial to understand the odds for each side bet to make informed decisions when placing your wagers.

Are blackjack side bets worth the risk?

Determining if a side bet is worth the risk ultimately depends on your goals and preferences as a player. While side bets can offer potentially large payouts, they generally come with a higher house edge compared to the main game, making them riskier. If you enjoy added excitement, are willing to take on additional risk, and can afford potential losses, then engaging in side bets can be an enjoyable aspect of your blackjack experience.

Can you explain the 21+3 side bet in blackjack?

The 21+3 side bet in blackjack combines your first two cards with the dealer's up card to create a three-card poker hand. The aim is to get a specific hand type, such as a flush, straight, or three-of-a-kind. Payouts depend on the ranking of your poker hand, with higher-ranked hands like a straight flush earning larger rewards. This side bet adds a poker-style twist to traditional blackjack.

How does the house edge affect side bets in blackjack?

The house edge represents the casino's mathematical advantage over the player in the long run, and it typically affects side bets more significantly than the main blackjack game. While the house edge for the standard game can be relatively low (depending on the specific rules), side bets often come with a higher house edge, resulting in a smaller chance of winning consistently. This increased risk is something players should consider before engaging in side bets.

What is the Top 3 side bet in blackjack?

The Top 3 side bet is a variant of the 21+3 side bet, where players also wager on the top three possible hands made from their two cards and the dealer's up card. These hands include a three-of-a-kind, straight flush, or suited three-of-a-kind. The payouts for these rare hands are much larger than those for the regular 21+3 side bet, making the Top 3 side bet appealing for players chasing substantial rewards.